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OU Baseball Bedlam Recap

By: Dave Myrick and Rives Mitchell

It was time to stretch in Stillwater. Game 3 of a rubber match with hated in-state rival Oklahoma State, series tied one a piece. For Oklahoma, and Coach, Skip Johnson, things were going well. Michael Snyder had just roped a 2-out RBI double to plate an insurance run in the top of the seventh, that gave Oklahoma a 5-3 lead. Nine outs to go, and a very important road-conference series would be in the bag.

We will get back to that in a few.

Wichita State

Earlier in the week, Tuesday to be precise, Oklahoma was looking to snap out of a 3-game loosing streak. Taking on the Shockers at Eck Stadium in Wichita. Grant Stevens got the start and went 2.0 innings, ultimately enough to get the win, his 5th of the season. Jamie Hitt, coming off the worst two-week stretch of his career, would also pitch 2.0 innings of shut out ball. The offense did more than enough on the bats of Jaxon Willits (2/3, 2 RBI), and Kendall Pettis (2/3, 1 RBI). to put up 11 runs in a blowout win on the road 11-2.

Bedlam

Game 1 of the series featured OU’s ace, Braden Davis. Davis has been phenonominal this season since taking over as Skip Johnson’s #1 guy in the weekend rotation. Davis worked seamlessly through the first inning, but the second frame was as different story. After a lead-off walk (which would be a theme all weekend for the OU staff), Nolan Schubert barreled a monstrous two-run shot to gibe OSU an early 2-0 lead. OU would respond in the top of the fifth, as Jason Walk smoked a ball to plate Kendall Pettis, cutting the OSU lead to one.

Answering, was a big storyline this Bedlam series, and OSU did it well. They would do just that in the bottom of the fifth, with a bases clearing double to extend their lead to 6-1. While OU was able to get 5 runs home the final three innings, it wasn’t enough as OSU would go onto win game one 9-6. Oklahoma launched 4 home-runs game one, all of them solo shots.

Game 2

The second game saw gale style wind gusts from the South, ranging from 30-45 MPH. A blustery day and a pitchers worst nightmare. I joked with some of the players parents a 25-20 game seemed likely with as offensive as O’Brate plays… we weren’t far off.

Oklahoma would bash another 6 home-runs on the day, en-route to putting up 19 runs as a club. Carter Campbell would ultimately get the win for Oklahoma going 4.0 innings, allowing 3 ER on 3 hits with 5 strikeouts and 3 walks. OU fireballer Kyson Witherspoon started going 3.2, allowing 7 earned runs on 8 hits, 2 strikeouts and one walk. There was no shortage of offense from either club, Oklahoma got home-runs from Jackson Nicklaus, who is playing himself into MVP conversation with OU baseball this season, Bryce Madron, Mike Snyder, Anthony Mackenzie, Scott Mudler and Jaxon Willits. Willits, who has been slow to come on his freshman season, showed signs of awakening in a big way with two home runs on the afternoon, one a towering shot that almost cleared RC wall at O’Brate. Oklahoma would win going away 19-10 after an hour and a half weather delay, setting up a game 3 rubber match

Game 3

After Oklahoma got a start from Grant Stevens (4.0 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 strikeouts, 4 walks), they found themselves up in the game as he departed thanks to a Jason Walk 2-run jack in the fifth, 3-2. Jackson Nicklaus would bang a 2-out double to plate Bryce Madron in the same frame, pushing the OU lead to 4-2 headed to the sixth. OSU would answer with one in the bottom half of the inning on a Nolan Schubert single cutting the OU lead to one at 4-3.

Here we are, back to the seventh inning… As mentioned, Mike Snyder would provide a critical insurance run in the top of the seventh, and give OU a multiple run lead headed to the bottom of the frame. Brendan Girton who had pitched two shut-out innings came back out to start the bottom of the seventh. He would record an out, but a walk and a base hit put the go-ahead run at the plate for the Cowboys.

Oklahoma would make a choice at this point that raised a few eyebrows, to go with veteran lefty James Hitt. Hitt, who in two of his last three appearances had given up 8 runs…in under an inning, came into his 3rd relief appearance of the season. A three-run home run by Donovan LaSalle came next, giving OSU a lead they would not relinquish. Malachi Witherspoon and Ryan Lambert would attempt to stop the bleeding, but the seventh inning was a bad one for OU and OSU would go on to win game 3, and take the series 9-5.

Conclusion

Oklahoma head coach Skip Johnson during warm-ups before an NCAA regional championship baseball game against Liberty on Friday, June 3, 2022 in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

For a large part of game 3, it felt like a regional setting. I know in talking with ESPN’s Mike Rooney following the contest, he said he saw the best in Oklahoma this Bedlam series… and the worst. Roles failing to be established and defined out of the bullpen. Walks, errors, all played into what turned out to be a disappointing week for OU baseball, as 2/3 games the staff would walk ten plus Cowboys. You aren’t going to win many games doing that, I don’t care what your offense does. And some of the decisions of late with the staff, have been puzzling to say the least.

That being said there were positives to take from this if you are Oklahoma. The power game, which had been lacking with only 8 HR’s through league play coming into Bedlam, popped off for 11 over the weekend. Two out hitting also made its return, and guys like Girton and Campbell seem to have found their niche pitching wise. And that is what needs to get fixed, pitching and defense. If it can ? This club can win a lot of games and compete for a league title. If it doesn’t ? It’s apt to be a long finish to the season.

Up Next: OU hosts UT Arlington Tuesday, April 9th at 6:30 CST